How to Set Up a Christmas Tree

Avoid a holiday headache by following these easy steps to set up your fresh-cut Christmas tree.

Fresh Cut Christmas Tree

Fresh Cut Christmas Tree

Fresh cut Christmas trees take a little prep work before you decorate. 

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Fresh cut Christmas trees take a little prep work before you decorate. 

It seems like it should be a simple process, but there is always something that can go awry with the annual Christmas tree setup. You forgot about the broken tree stand. The tree is not quite the size it seemed in the store. It always seems to dry out before Christmas. Avoid these and other problems by following these simple steps.

  • Choose your perfect Christmas tree. This is where you make sure the tree is as fresh as possible and the right dimensions for your space.
  • Unload the tree: If the tree is large and/or heavy, get help. Back injuries are not conducive to decking the halls. Be sure to give the tree a good shake that will leave any messy brown needles (along with any unwelcome critters that may have hitched a ride) outside.
  • Do a final measurement on the height of the tree compared with the ceiling height. This will determine how much to cut off the bottom of the trunk. If the tree fits “as-is” you will still need to take 1-2 inches off the bottom to ensure that the tree will take up water when it is in the stand. (The cut closes in an hour or so, so if this service was provided at the tree farm you may not need to cut it again. If you aren’t sure, it never hurts to take another inch or so off.)
  • Loosely put the tree on the stand. (If you purchased a Christmas tree disposal bag, now is the time to put it on the base of the tree...before the tree goes into the stand.) The stand should be snug but loose enough to allow for adjustment when the tree is moved into its location.
  • Clear a path to the tree’s display location. Breaking lamps and vases does not spread holiday cheer.
  • Move the tree in and stand it up. Make sure the tree is standing upright before tightening the stand.
  • Add water to the tree stand. Check the water level frequently to avoid having the tree dry out.
  • Allow the tree to stand indoors and absorb water for 24 hours or more before decorating.
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